Home > Continuity of opioid substitution treatment between prison and community in Southeast Asia: a scoping review.

Loh, Debbie Ann and Plugge, Emma and Van Hout, Marie-Claire (2023) Continuity of opioid substitution treatment between prison and community in Southeast Asia: a scoping review. International Journal of Drug Policy, 112, 103957. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2023.103957.

External website: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...

BACKGROUND: Criminalisation of drug use and compulsory detention has largely characterised the Southeast Asia region's response to people who use drugs. Whilst access to and provision of healthcare for people living in prison are mandated by international human rights standards, many opioid dependent people living in prison continue to lack access to opioid substitution treatment (OST) during incarceration, and face uncertainties of continuity of care beyond the prison gate.

METHODS: A scoping review using Arksey and O'Malley's framework mapped what is currently known about the continuity of OST post-release in Southeast Asia, with a focus on the three countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam) that provide OST in at least one prison. A multi-lingual systematic search (English, Malay, Indonesian, Vietnamese) on Medline, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library collected and reviewed extant relevant published empirical and grey literature including government reports between 2011 and 2021. Of the 365 records found, 18 were eligible for inclusion following removal of duplicates and application of exclusion criteria. These records were charted and thematically analysed.

RESULTS: Three main themes were generated: Facilitators of post release continuity of care, Barriers to post release continuity of care and Therapeutic considerations supporting post release continuity of care. When individual and structural gaps exist, disruptions to continuity of OST care post release are observed. Adequate methadone dosage of >80mg/day appears significantly associated with retention in post-release OST.

CONCLUSIONS: The review highlights the facilitators, barriers and therapeutic considerations of continuity of care of OST between prison and community for people living in prisons from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Improving community services with family support are key to supporting continued OST adherence post release along with reducing societal stigma towards people who use drugs and those entering or leaving prison. Further efforts are warranted to ensure parity, quality and continuity of OST care post release.

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